Friday, January 25, 2008

Blog Review: The Face Hunter

I feel like as a sort of bloggeur (like poseur because I have no cred yet), I have a responsibility to point out awesome blogs that I follow pretty regularly. So: I give you The Face Hunter. The best blogs are often the simplest, and The Face Hunter holds true to that - this blogger posts photos every day of street fashion he sees in cities around the globe. The style is clean and artsy/elegant, and I am so addicted it's not even funny.

Some of my favorites:
-PARIS - men's fashion week fw 08/09, 01/19/08
-BARCELONE - betty ford + fellini, 01/10/08
-BERLIN - face hunter exhibition opening & party, la robe & tousend & cookies, 12/13/07
-LONDON - brick lane market, 01/06/08
-BERLIN - auf der strasse, mitte & prenzlauer berg, 12/17/07
-NEW YORK - fashion week spring 08, 09/07/07


Monday, January 21, 2008

Restaurant Review - Aziza

Aziza, hiding in plain site on the corner of Geary at 22nd in San Francisco, puts to shame its surroundings for miles around. You may think I'm exaggerating, but I love this place. Owner and chef Mourad Lahlou, who traveled from Marrakech to attend SF State and later opened Aziza in November of 2001, experiments with strange combinations and interesting ingredients to put his own twist on Moroccan cuisine. Now, I'm not a food critic, but I've been there twice in the last year or so (because as a student, my budget for dining at such places is limited to tagging along with my parents!) and I have never been disappointed.

For my mom's birthday, our family of five ordered the sampler menu, which consisted of five courses of varying types (see bottom of menu). The first was a choice of either lentil or carrot-ginger soup, and the odd fusion of traditional Moroccan spices with familiar dishes was decidedly fantastic. Then an assortment of appetizers, chosen by the sous chef, including goat cheese with spiced and oil-drizzled toasts, flatbread with eggplant/roasted pepper/dill spreads, giant lima beans baked with feta and tomatoes, whole peppers with garlic cloves and a salad of spicy greens and shaved almonds. The third course, with the choice of either a vegetarian or a chicken option, was the traditional Moroccan basteeya. The basteeya is a puff pastry filled with chicken, egg, almonds, and assorted spices, fried and topped with powdered sugar. Basically, a chicken pie. And it's DELICIOUS. 

Of course, we were all groaning at the pain in our already-full bellies by this point, but we hadn't even hit the entrée yet. For entrees we had individual plates, and my parents got cod, my sister got rabbit, and my other sister and I got a delicious couscous and vegetable dish (see image). And for dessert, we were faced with the most eclectic bunch of delectables I've ever seen: goat-yogurt ice cream, orange-blossom mouse, a persimmon tart thing, a pear galette cookie, CARROT ice cream, cardamom sorbet, and the list goes on. Suffice it to say, the meal was fantastic.

I have to say, I have a thing for weird food. Now, I don't mean dishes with too many legs or calling three slices of radish for $50 "avant-garde." I like it, plain and simple, when a chef surprises me. Lahlou, who I actually discovered is a friend of my aunt's, is a fantastic chef but is most importantly creative. Plus, the warm decor of Aziza's interior is done in crimson and navy, and is welcoming and cozy. I haven't yet been disappointed by Aziza, and I don't ever expect to be! Get there as soon as you can, I promise it's worth it.

Aziza Contacts page and GoogleMaps

Also, I took the couscous photo but the flatbread picture and the interior shot are from the Aziza website.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Movie: Cloverfield

For the first time since Beowulf, I walked into a movie theater with absolutely no expectations whatsoever. And funnily enough, I had one of the most intense moviegoing experiences of my life. No, seriously! Cloverfield, released yesterday from director Matt Reeves and screenwriter Drew Goddard, follows a group of ordinary twentysomethings as they try to survive a monster attack on Manhattan. I know, I know, it sounds so campy that you'd expect Dr. Frankenfurter to make a cameo and storm up Park Avenue in a corset and heels, but seriously, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Gritty, disturbing, and utterly disorienting, this film scared the crap out of me.

For starters, the entire movie basically looks like it was filmed on a handheld camera that someone literally hauled through the city trying to get to safety, and that lends an aura of realism to the film that removes any possibility of it being thought of as cheesy. We see enough of the monsters to be terrified and repulsed, but enough of our questions are left unanswered to give us the feeling of being in the exact same situation as the victims of the attack - clueless, confused, and scared. The action is perfectly paced, the dialogue realistic and meticulously placed, and the characters good-looking but not big-name actors. 

My words are totally inadequate to describe the level of tension and suspense that this little pipebomb of a horror film packs. Suffice it to say that this is possibly the best horror/thriller/suspense movie I have ever seen, and I was riveted to the screen the entire time. The preview doesn't even remotely do this film justice - as it was, I walked in kind of kicking myself for spending $10 on a random horror flick that the preview had made look awful and pretty much like a repeat of every cheesy apocalyptic Godzilla-storms-New-York movie ever made. If you hated the preview, or thought it looked stupid - see this movie, and I think you'll be surprised. 

About 1.5 hours running time, check movie times and locations on Fandango.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Blue Miniskirt: Essential #1

Time for another clothing post! I found this royal blue denim miniskirt at H&M a month ago, and I swear I didn't take it off for a week after I bought it. I've always hated denim miniskirts, mistakenly thinking that they only came in one breed: washed-out, ripped-off LA surfer girl. (And people who might know me, or those of you who care to take a glance at the picture to the right, know that I am not one of those girls, and never will be.) H&M lovingly proved me wrong, as this gem nearly stuffed itself into my bag in its desire to adorn my skirt-starved frame. 

Usually I wear it with a t-shirt and leggings, with either boots or ballet flats+legwarmers. The only worry I have is that the color might fade over time, since it's such a vivid blue - any ideas for how to keep it from fading? And another problem - where do I find more of these? I want about 8374 more, in different colors. I know American Apparel has some sort of multicolored assortment of stretchy miniskirts, but I always throw up a little in my mouth whenever I walk into an AA store. I don't know why, to be honest, the colors are lovely...but no, no American Apparel for me. So, ideas?

Bill Durgin - Figure Studies and Portraits

It's rare that I'm simultaneously pleasantly intrigued and completely nauseated by any work of art, much less that of a photographer. I've found myself puzzling over the works of Joel Peter-Witkin numerous times, but his use of corpses and weird religious tableaus provides an obvious explanation for why his work is so fascinating. Bill Durgin, on the other hand, uses live models contorted into odd positions to create rich figure studies that challenge commonly-held perceptions of the body as topped and dominated by the head. His figures rarely, if ever, have faces, and instead invite us lowly viewers to examine the form as a collection of parts, a mere assortment of muscles held tightly in check under dangerously thin skin. 
Although Durgin mainly focuses on figure study (both human and vegetable, oddly enough), his website does boast a nice assortment of "portraits and incidents" as well as a set of combination figure study/clothing advertisements. I actually find this last set most compelling, as the simplistic figure studies that I first mentioned tend to look more alien and vaguely disturbing, and leave me unsettled. Of course, 
it is an accomplishment for an artist to leave the viewer with questions, and though the figure studies and fashion advertisements are both similar in elements, they could not be more divergent in tone and purpose. The combination fashion/form study photographs combine the alien impersonality of the bare figures with the drapery of clothing, and give the photographer a freedom of composition and a context that the simplistic figure studies might lack. 
Conversely, the purpose of the fashion figures is of course to advertise the clothing, and Durgin's weird body composition is perhaps overshadowed by the clothes themselves. It is impossible to say which of Durgin's weird collections is objectively "better," simply because it remains up to each viewer to decide for him- or herself whether the disconcerting figure studies or the unorthodox fashion photography is more artistically persuasive. 

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sex Pistols Working on New Recordings??

Call me a hater, call me a traditionalist, but I seriously dislike it when things like this happen. For those too lazy to read the actual article, it pretty much states that the Sex Pistols are going to try to record some new material in time for the upcoming summer, and without the notorious Sid Vicious. I mean, duh they're recording without Sid (the man's been dead for nearly 30 years) and Glen Matlock is returning to bass duties anyway, but it offends my delicate sensitivities when any band from my parents' and grandparents' eras decides to haul their rotting corpses up for a reunion. Especially when that reunion isn't really complete because any number of important band members are currently food for worms or in geriatric units.

Of course, as a child, I grew up on The Clash, Led Zeppelin, and the like. And I do wish with all of my heart that I could have lived in London in 1976, or in New York in 1974, just so I could have seen live the bands I've loved to listen to on record. To be honest, the theoretical idea of the Sex Pistols rising Christlike from the dead gives the fangirl in me a little jolt of pure joy. But then I realize that bands like the Sex Pistols and their contemporaries, as amazing as they were, belong in their own time-encapsulated eras of the 70s and 80s, when punk was young and new and completely insane. The world has moved on, and other bands have filled the shoes of and branched out from those who came before them. This feels like a throwback from another age trying desperately to keep up with the new acts simply because they feel old and useless. I don't WANT new tracks from a decrepit Sex Pistols - I want to remember and iconize them as they were, and not acquire a sense of disgust and disappointment at what they've become.

This year saw the resurrection of Queen (minus Freddie Mercury), Metallica, and now the Sex Pistols - who's next? Bob Marley? Are they literally going to start raising the dead?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Greyscale Outfit #1

First off, I'd like to apologize for the quality of this image - I'm still playing around with my trusty Canon PowerShot SD1000 to find the best way to document what I'm wearing. That said, I've recently fallen absolutely in love with the color grey, more specifically playing around with wearing grey and black in varying combinations and rejoicing at how cool it looks with my hair! 

Outfit details:
-black peacoat, Macy*s
-greytone leopard print wool scarf from this place on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley
-black drapey skirt from H&M
-grey polka dot tights from Target
-black boots from some catalog back in 6th grade.

I am by no means a fashion maven, but I love playing around with colors and ideas - I'm learning to embrace the idea of looking good as something fun, rather than a chore. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Complete Control - Reaction

Well, I am as of now rehabilitating this blog. Get ready for surprises!

 I bought Complete Control's album, Reaction from the music store I work at. This is momentous for a number of reasons: one, I never buy CDs. Two, I have been eyeing that album for months and the only reason I finally bought it is because they're not a big enough band yet to be downloadable anywhere online. Three - I loved it. No, seriously! This is straight up street punk, with guitar riffs similar to The Unseen and a heavy vocalist reminiscent of Lars Frederiksen of The Bastards and Rancid fame. My closest comparison would be a weird hybrid/lovechild of the Unseen and San Diego's Cheap Sex. Unfortunately, Complete Control doesn't have quite the frenetic energy of the Unseen, and their lyrics struggle for some kind of deeper meaning that doesn't necessarily succeed, but the entire album is remarkably listenable and intense. I'm loving "Blame" and the title track "Reaction."

Check out the band at their TKO Records site or through their page on that most ubiquitous of sites, Myspace.